Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Reusing and recycling

I was taking advantage of the wet weekend to go through my mending pile and make a few alterations to some clothes when realised that what I was doing is now considered "green" and is often presented as a new activity. It is of course what people (women particularly) have been doing for centuries, in fact it is probably only the last one or maybe two generations that haven't mended and darned.

I remember lots of make do and mend in my chidhood (60s and 70s). There was certainly a lot of unpicking of jumpers we had grown out of and combining the yarn from several garments to make one new one. I had a fawn coloured cardigan which when I had grown out of it was duly unpicked and remade into a poloneck jumper. Extra wool was needed and the resulting jumper had a fawn body and the sleeves and neck were made striped, fawn, blue and orange! It sounds dreadful now but orange was very popular amongst my friends in the seventies.

I can also remember updating my existing trousers into flares by inserting a triangle of material into the outer side seam. I also had to add more fabric lengthen them, partly because I had grown and partly because they needed to be longer because of the platform shoes I tried to walk in!

Anyway back to the present day and a couple of my latest renovations.

This bag has been recycled twice. It started life as a chunky aran jumper but I found that I didn't get much wear out of that so I unpicked it and knitted a funnel necked jumper from a Rowan pattern. After much wearing and washing this started to felt so rather than trying to do anything else with the yarn I deliberately tried to felt it by repeatedly washing it in the washing machine whenever I washed a load of towels. When I did my washing on a standard 60C wash this process didn't take more than a couple of washes but now washing in an eco-friendly cool short wash cycle it took weeks of repeated washing to felt properly. Eventually it had felted enough to make this simple bag - I just cut the peices out and sewed -it shouldn't fray but I did some buttonhole/blanket stitch on the flap and round the buttonhole to make sure.

This weekends project was updating a summer skirt. Please excuse the photos which were taken inside on a very dull day.

Actually I'm not sure the pictures show much at all! Basically I just took nine inches off the hem and added some ribbon. Hopefully I've turned it from an almost ankle length skirt that I very rarely wore to a more practical summer skirt. Now I just need to wait for this rain to stop and summer to return.


Moonroot said...

Wow, how inspiring! Thanks for the ideas - it's still raining here so I have a jumper I'm going to felt!!!

Jenny said...

Well done I love the bag and the skirt looks pretty. I did a similar thing to an old aran jumper of mine and made it into a bag but I haven't used it much. I'll have to get it out this winter.